About Ryan

Ryan Finchum is Co-director of the Center for Protected Area Management. His B.S. in Environmental Science (from LSU) and an M.S. focused on Protected Area Management (from CSU). Between 2008-2014 he led an initiative to design and launch a new master’s program in Conservation Leadership which uses a trans-disciplinary, problem-based curriculum. Ryan’s areas of interest include public use & ecotourism, interpretation & environmental communication, protected area management, capacity development, and conservation leadership. He has over a decade of experience as an ecotourism guide and business owner. He has worked in over a dozen countries and has participated in the training of over 1000 conservation professionals from over 50 countries.

Website CV


M.S., Human Dimensions of Natural Resources - Colorado State Univeristy
Fort Collins, CO, 2001

B.S., Environmental Science and Geography - Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA, 1996

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • WAGS Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education (co-recipient), 2013
  • WWF Education for Nature Andes-Amazon Training Grant (annual grants received), 2004-2008
  • U.S. Forest Service International Programs Global Protected Area Management Training Grant (annual grants received), 2003-2013


  • Board Member, Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance
  • Commission Member, Commission on Education and Communication
  • Commission Member, World Commission on Protected Areas